What's Stopping Women From Making It to the Forefront of Esports

Sarah Zulkiflee
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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Why aren't there more women in esports?</p></div>

Video games and gaming, in general, have evolved over the years and it has grown into a gigantic industry, expected to exceed $200 Billion USD worth of revenue at the end of 2023. According to the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE), in Europe, 47% of video game players, and 53% of all mobile and tablet video game players are women. Southeast Asia has also seen a rise in women players, amounting to 38% of the 1.33bn Asian gaming population. This probably comes as a surprise to most as the world of video games has always been stereotyped as a male-dominated industry, however, stats prove it’s far more equal than perceived.

Despite the balance in regular video game numbers between both genders, there is a wide, concerning gap when it comes to women’s involvement in esports, whether as pro players, commentators, broadcast talent, or other roles. The pro esports scene is visibly dominated by men. The top 300 esports earners at the time of writing this article also exhibit the scarcity of women as the highest-ranking woman, Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn is placed 343rd.

There is also an apparent lack of female talents outside of the pro scene, or at least, a lack of representation. Some of the recent examples can be seen at the ESL One Summer 2021 Dota 2 event or the Dota Summit 12 in 2020 where the invited broadcast talent did not feature any women.

Just like esports, physical sports have traditionally been male-dominated with women athletes struggling to make it to the spotlight of their fields without being ridiculed or ostracized. In fact, it has taken 125 years since the modern Olympics was established for women to reach near-gender parity at the games, with women representing almost 49% of the competitors at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Unfortunately, esports is currently following a similar trajectory with the representation of women being ridiculously low at the highest levels. There are several mammoth-sized boulders blocking the way of women gamers attempting to pursue a path in this industry.

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